Businesses must do more to create a culture where employees feel they can openly disclose they are neurodiverse, according to IOSH.
It comes as survey results reveal that more than two-thirds of neurodiverse workers haven’t told their current employer about their condition. Meanwhile less than a third said they would declare it on a job application.
Ruth Wilkinson, Head of Policy at IOSH, the global membership body for health and safety professionals, said it is “unacceptable” that people don’t feel able to comfortably discuss their conditions at work.
She said: “The results of our survey are incredibly concerning. Though we don’t know the root causes, the headline data shows people feel they have to keep their neurodiverse conditions hidden.”
It is estimated that as many as one in seven people are neurodiverse, with conditions including ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), autism, dyslexia and dyspraxia.
October features a number of awareness initiatives around neurodiversity. Dyslexia Awareness Week took from 2-8 October and Dyspraxia Awareness Week was 9-15 October. Meanwhile ADHD Awareness Month takes place throughout the whole of October.
IOSH ran two polls on LinkedIn to gauge whether people are comfortable discussing their neurodiverse conditions at work. It found that 70 per cent hadn’t told their employer about their condition. Seventy-two per cent said they would either not declare it on a job application or were unsure if they would do so.
Ruth added: “This is worrying and unacceptable. It clearly demonstrates that businesses need to do more to drive positive and inclusive workplace cultures, ones which provide psychological safety, ones which are supportive, and ones where people can be themselves and be comfortable to disclose and discuss their conditions without fear of negative consequences.
“This is about people, your workers, and valuing workers and the talents they bring with them – having the right culture, leadership, and processes in place to support those who are neurodiverse to join workplaces, to work, and to stay in work is important. It’s crucial that businesses create the right inclusive culture and conditions which enable and support those workers to flourish.”
Treatment for ADHD may include but is not limited to: behavior therapy which might look like learning skills to help with managing tasks, social skills training which might involve role-plays as well as learning from others who are modeling different solutions to common social problems (Department of Education, 2008), and medications.